Costa Rica: Bosques Costarricenses y Mercados de Carbono

Last Updated: 19 April 2018
Article by Federico Castro-Kahle

Los bosques juegan un papel crítico en nuestro clima. Por un lado, éstos remueven aproximadamente 1 billón de toneladas de carbono de la atmósfera al año. Por el contrario, la deforestación es responsable de cerca del 17% de las emisiones globales de gases de efecto invernadero. Resulta indispensable, por ende, incluir a los bosques en la lucha contra el cambio climático.

Reducir las Emisiones producto de la Deforestación y Degradación forestal (REDD) es una propuesta que responde a esta necesidad. Este mecanismo busca canalizar recursos financieros a los poseedores de bosque con el fin de incentivar su protección.

Se pretende, de esta forma, corregir la falla de mercado que alimenta la deforestación: mientras que los beneficios privados de la tala (por ejemplo, madera y terreno para actividades agropecuarias) son remunerados por el mercado, los beneficios sociales de la conservación del bosque (captura de carbono y protección de mantos acuíferos, entre otros) no se le retribuyen económicamente a su dueño. El propósito de REDD es, por lo tanto, hacer que la conservación de bosques sea más rentable que su destrucción.

En Copenhague, ciudad que albergó en diciembre del 2009 la reunión mundial sobre el cambio climático, REDD salió fortalecido. Se reconoció el crucial papel que juegan los bosques en nuestro clima y se acordó la creación inmediata del mecanismo. Para tal fin, los países desarrollados se comprometieron a movilizar financiamiento sustancial.

Este panorama representa una enorme oportunidad para Costa Rica, en donde la cobertura forestal actualmente alcanza cerca del 50 por ciento del territorio nacional. REDD pone a Costa Rica a las puertas de acceder a una fuente importante de recursos para proteger sus bosques e impulsar su desarrollo.

Siguientes pasos. A pesar de este gran avance que se dio en Copenhague, aún quedan muchos detalles técnicos por definir. Éstos determinarán, en gran medida, la participación y dinámica de los países dentro de REDD, y consecuentemente, su capacidad para atraer recursos financieros. El reto para Costa Rica es claro: luchar por la inclusión significativa del país en el mecanismo y maximizar la entrada de capital destinado a su sector forestal.

La tarea debe centrarse en conseguir que REDD se ligue estrechamente al sector privado. Lejos de ser un mecanismo de financiamiento público, REDD debe convertirse primordialmente en un instrumento de mercado. Y como tal, debe tender puentes directos entre los mercados de carbono y los dueños de bosque, quienes, al final del día, son los que tomarán la decisión de protegerlo o deforestarlo.

Se destacan algunas de las razones por las que Costa Rica se beneficiaría sustancialmente de un mecanismo REDD de mercado:

Primero, la única forma de generar los recursos necesarios para financiar la protección de los bosques es involucrando a los mercados de carbono internacionales. Se estima que el financiamiento necesario para reducir la deforestación en un 50% para el año 2030 oscilaría entre $17-33 billones anuales. El grueso de este monto únicamente puede ser aportado por los mercados de carbono, los cuales tan solo en el 2008 movilizaron poco menos de $120 billones. En breve, el financiamiento privado hace que el pastel REDD crezca, y por consiguiente, que la tajada a ser obtenida por el país sea más grande.

Segundo, Costa Rica se encuentra en una situación ventajosa sobre el resto de países con bosque tropical para atraer inversión forestal privada. El mejor posicionamiento del país en índices de gobernabilidad, sumado a la superior legislación e institucionalidad forestal costarricense, se traduce en menores riesgos para el inversionista.

Finalmente, el atractivo costarricense se ve intensificado aún más cuando se considera que nuestros bosques, siendo los que cuentan con la mayor densidad de biodiversidad en el mundo, representan una enorme oportunidad para los inversionistas que, además, están interesados en la conservación de la diversidad biológica.

REDD representa una atractiva oportunidad para que Costa Rica acceda a una fuente importante de recursos destinados a la protección de sus bosques. Por las razones expuestas, el país debe luchar por que este mecanismo se configure como un instrumento de mercado, impulsado por el sector privado. En el pasado, los costarricenses hemos sido líderes mundiales en conservación progresiva de los recursos naturales. Es hora de volver a serlo.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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